Friday, December 12, 2014

Dodger time

Since we are staying the winter I’ve decided to start in on many of the maintenance items on the “B” list of jobs that have been hanging around for years. First on the list is the delaminating problem on the top of the hard dodger. The top is made of wood but it’s covered over with fiberglass and paint. The paint has gone bad and areas of the fiberglass covering have delaminated from the underlying wood substrata. All I have to do is replace some fiberglass and paint it… easier said than done!

First, I had to make an enclosure to keep rain off me.
Wee look like refugees from a hurrican

 Next, you have to remove every bit of hardware on the dodger.
Then you “sound” the dodger top and marking off the “loose” area. (To sound an area you tap it and listen to the sound, you can tell by the difference if it’s hollow or not).
The dashed line is the point where the sound changes indicating a loose area.
Then you cut out the bad with a vibro saw.
As you can see, there was a bit of trouble under the fiberglass
Afterwards comes the first coat of epoxy to seal the wood and then a coat of fairing material to bring the bad areas back even.

 Next, Fiberglass.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Water tank - 2

The special (IE: hideously expensive) food grade epoxy arrived and so I went to work putting 3 coats of it inside of the tank.
How to epoxy the inside of a tank

The inside of the tank turned out nice and white and so all I had to do was reinstall it. Easier said then done.
After we carried it into the Goose, I put the fittings back on to the tank

Droped it into place... notice the beat red face?

Goop up the seal

With the application of silicon to the rubber gasket the lid went back into place and the area under our bed finally got rebuilt again. It’s nice to have our boat back together again.

The tank is back under its sound deadening foam and Anna's storage compartment is reassembled.
As projects go, this one was a paticularly nasty one because we had to remove the bed, (many times), finding a home for all of the "stuff" under the bed for the weeks that the project took and the nasty business of sandblasting the tank and then epoxying the inside of a small place. I'm glad it's done and may I never have to see the tank again!


A change of plans

Hang nails, Split ends,  Dirty toes and SPIT!! We aren’t going to Fl. this winter!!!!!

Anna and I have had a change of plans this winter. We have decided to stay in Oriental NC for the winter. Deaton Marine has offered me a job for the next few months and our “cruising kitty” could stand a bit of monetary input right now.
The deciding factor was how late in the season it’s getting to be. It will be well into the holidays (if not the first of the year) by the time my contracted work is done here and that would leave us (after travel) about 8 weeks in Fla. A short time for a lot of travel and money. Also, we have had several projects that have been on the “B list” for years and a few months spent at the dock could clear up many of those nagging projects. So, it’s bitter sweet in many respects. We will miss all of our good friends we see every winter but by spring the Snow Goose should be in much better condition and the “kitty” will be well fed. That’s the bad news. The good news is that Anna will finally get the bathroom repainted!
So, lets hope for a mild winter with plenty of sun and average temperatures in NC this winter!

We look like a refugee from a hurricane with the addition of a blue tarp. The tarp creates a work room so I can rebuild the fiberglass dodger top.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


When I rebuilt Snow goose back in Michigan, one of the things that I removed was the fireplace. Yes, the boat had a working fireplace. But, there is a considerable difference between a "working fireplace" and one that "actually works" and put out enough heat to warm up the boat. After a lot of thought I went with a small hot water boiler fired by diesel fuel. It's made by Wabasto and is used in big trucks to keep their cabs and engines warm when sitting at rest stops for the night.
The worlds smallest boiler
For the last 8 years it has preformed very well keeping us warm even when its in the low 20’s outside. All good things come to an end though and this year, it began to have trouble starting up so I removed it from it’s little nook in the engine compartment and took it apart. I found that the burner had sooted up and this carbon was obstructing the air/fuel mixture.  After a thorough cleaning, it was reinstalled and we happily have heat again.

This small cube can put out about 20% of the heat that your large furnace does in your house!
The carbon and soot from 8 years of operation.
Which brings up a point in general about cruising that I heard 20 years ago from an older sailor, “if you can’t fix it, don’t have it”. Good advice then and still good advice now.



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Interesting project

The folks at Deaton Marine showed me an old wooden rudder and asked if I could build a new one. We discussed making it out of fiberglass and foam, then teak or just rebuilding the old one. The owner opted for a new teak rudder. Here’s a short pictorial on building a new teak rudder for an older boat.

The rudder stock needed new bronze tierods to hold the rudder together.
I'm heating the bronze rods and peening them over into the oval holes.
you can see how flush they ended up.

The finished rudder stock. Now the wood

I cut and shaped a ruff cut teak board until I had 3 boards then jointed the edges to 90deg. Here there put together into the ruff shape of the old rudder. 

next, the boards had to be drilled for the bronze rods

then, pocket holes drilled for the nuts and washers.

Finally, lots of epoxy and we slid the two boards together

The last piece goes on, now the nuts and washers.

A bit of work with a power planer, a hand planer, a belt sander, a plam sander and hand sanding results in...

a new rudder.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

NASA, we have a problem,,,

The the other day, I noticed the gray water pump cycling every so often. Not a good thing to hear. When I checked I found a steady drip of water coming from the front of the boat and it looked like it was coming from the front water tank. Well, reluctantly, I decided that the tank had to come out to find the source of the leak.
The inside of the Snow Goose tore apart... again
As it turned out,  I found the leak to be from two hoses and the tank integrity was OK. Pulling the tank  though, was a blessing in desguise for there was a problem inside of the tank and also, under the tank that had to be addressed.
Pulling the 50 gal tank

Finally, out onto the dock
close up of the failed interior coating... every bubble is a rust pocket!
 The coating inside of the tank (Por-15) had totally delaminated and the inside of the tank was rusting. I sandblasted the inside of the tank and we plan to re-coat the inside with a food grade epoxy.
What a dirty job!
Under the tank, the protective coating on top of the ballast had also deteriorated and a bit of the ribs and the hull had started to rust. So it was a serendipitous that the tank came out for it revealed this hidden issue. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014


The people that you meet, (as you might guess), are a large part of cruising. These ‘instant friends’ are a part of life on the water that is very different from the acquaintances that you would make while living back on land. It is much easier to make friendships and have them be closer when on a boat  than it is while living in a house. I believe this results from everyone being in the “same boat” so to speak. We all share a common interest as a starting point so, it is easier to strike up a conversation. We commonly share the same type of problems so doing a favor to help another comes naturally. Even inviting complete strangers over to your boat for an evening sundowner or a shared meal becomes normal . The hard part is not how fast these friendships form but how quickly they separate. For instants,

We first met Andy while I was rebuilding our main mast several years ago. (see Nov. 2010) He showed up out of nowhere and over the course of 2 weeks we got to know him well for in a former career he owned a wooden mast building company! (what a coincidence). He gave ma a lot of tips and after about 3 weeks we parted with a hearty hand shake and words to get together again. Now, 4 years later, there’s Andy and his significant other, Maggie, working on his small sailboat, getting ready to travel south. Anna and  Maggie hit it right off with a ‘instant friendship’ but, 5 days later they left us behind as they headed south. We hope to meet up with them again in Fl. 

Alex and Diane live on a catamaran that stopped a Deaton Marine for only a few days and we struck up a friendship with them. They are new to cruising (but not boating) and Alex (being a writer) asked to interview me! Then 2 days later, poof, they left, headed south. It would seem like a real lose in your life to have people that you meet leave so rapidly but, the cruising population is really a large community of individuals strung out over the waterways of America and like any community you end up bumping into each other as the weeks and years go by. This is one of the aspects of cruising is so different from life on land and yet, is so enjoyable to me. It’s the hearty “hello’s!”  the instant comradely and warm conversations of these ‘instant friendships’ that it brings me back to boating year after year.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Un-wanted guests

We made back to the Snow goose only to find that we had been invaded while we were gone. The German cockroach had moved in and set up residency! The boat was infested with them. It was enough to make your skin crawl off your body. We bought 6 cans of Raid and tried to poison them. No Luck.
Anna after killing her hundreth roach while moving stuff off the boat.
Then I tore out a lot of the insides and removed almost stuff from the boat and fumigated with enough for a small house, No Luck.
Everything up ready to fumigate
Then we did it again with double the fumigators, still no luck. They were still kicking and crawling around, just a lot less. So, we call up a professional company and I tore the entire boat apart. I removed EVERYTHING and took down all of the ceilings. Imagine removing EVERYTHING that you own, thru an upstairs window in your house. Then carrying it all down a ladder and putting it on a flatbed trailer. Then taking the ceilings, walls, and cabinets apart on top of it all! Oh, and inspecting everything that you removed for bugs and egg sacks too. (you would not believe how much "stuff" can fit on a 40ft boat!)
One small shelf after being fumigated (every dark spot is a roach)
1/2 of everything is off the boat... the pile got to be 4 feet high!
He sprayed about 2 gals of poison everywhere and onto everything, every locker, every crack, grove, hiding place, that I could open up. What a job. 2 gal of spray later and lots of “roach bait” and we were done. Now the boat is almost back together and we are moved back on. I just hope that we have turned the corner and that all this poison will kill the last few cockroaches and not kill us (or Edie) in the process. What a home coming.

Sleeping on the boat!
This has set us back, instead of 3 days on the hard we have spent 10 days getting rid of the roaches and doing repairs to the boat before going back into the water. It’s not something that I wanted but it is typical of being a cruiser, facing the unexpected in your everyday life. Back into the water tomorrow!


Friday, November 7, 2014

The big apple-2

We spent about 5 days traveling about NY  riding the subway and walked our legs off.
Rush hour on the subway, standing room only!
Two of the more interesting places we went to were the Cloister and Carnage Hall.

The Cloister is a religious museum. It originally was 5 different medieval  abbeys  from France that were disassembles and shipped to NY then rebuilt into one building to be a museum. The building is impressive but the artwork that it holds is priceless. Well worth the effort to get there.
Another night we went to Carnage Hall to listen to the Orpheus Symphony. What a building and what a fabulous sound! It was overwhelming to say the least.

Finally you can’t be in NY City with out seeing something unusual and we did... I wonder if the US Post Office knows about their "new" mail box look!

Oh, and we found where Superman and Batman and all of the other superheros in Gothum shop, of course at the "Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co"! Only in NY City would you find something like this.

It's really a creative space for children to explore their imaginations on how to create superhero things.

Next stop, Snow Goose.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Big Apple,

On our way south to move back on to Snow Goose, our 40 foot steel ketch, we normally swing north to New York City for a short visit with my sister her husband and kids. They live in a quite section of Brooklyn.
This is an example of the houses where my sister lives in Brooklyn
 The big city intrigues me with it’s frantic pace, its noise and bustle. It’s a great place to visit but I’m not sold on living there. The cost of living is so high that to be able to enjoy a life there you would have to make upwards of a 6 figure income to have a house, and a life that wasn’t anything more than working and sitting at home at night. Also the incredible energy of this city is balanced by the solo existence and avoidance that everyone give to each other. I call it the “New York stare”. When walking down the street everyone makes eye contact until the last 20 feet (as they size you up to see if you are a serial killer or not) and then at the 20 foot mark, the eyes turn away and never look at you again… you simply ceased to exist in their world. It’s a city of 8 million plus people packed tightly together mostly living separate lives… or at least, that’s how it seems to this outsider.
The "New" world trade center
We went down to lower Manhattan and took a look at the new world trade center, it’s one tall building! Right next to it are the memorial fountains for the old twin towers. The fountains are huge holes in the ground with a wall of water falling down into the holes. It’s surrounded by a rail inscribed with the names of all of the people who died. It’s all rather sobering to see.

The large square area with the water falls is the footprint of the old world trade center tower. The smaller square hole is another hole (that you can't see the bottom of) and the water just falls off down into nowhere... kind of creepy.

 While in NY we visited the largest Gothic Cathedral in the USA. It was started in the late 1800's and is still under construction. What a place!

This place is HUGE!

It's about 120 feet to the ceiling!

Looking down the center of the cathedral. The colored item hanging in the center is a phoenix sculpture given be a Chinese artist
We plan to leave NY and head back to the boat in a few days but until then we'll keep playing tourist in the Big Apple!